Marcy Rector ’99: Costumer for “Catching Fire”

Marcy action shot

Marcy Rector ’99 has an extensive list of credits as a costumer, including this season’s blockbuster, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and “American Hustle,” which opens on December 20.

You may not realize it, but when you watched “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”—this season’s blockbuster—you were also observing the handiwork of Marcy Rector ’99. And you’ll see her credited in an upcoming feature film as well.

Rector, who majored in art and worked in the theatre department at Centre, spent two years working at Actors Theatre of Louisville after graduation and finished her Master of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon in 2004. Since then, she has been working as a freelance costume designer—and she’s had a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

“When I finished grad school, I had $148 to my name,” Rector says. “This was NOT going to pay for a cross country move to LA. So I decided to do what many recent grads do, which was to spend some quality time with my parents, living for free and saving money.”

With that decision, Rector moved back to her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, which she discovered was the setting for another movie.

“When I returned to Memphis, I heard on the radio that ‘Walk the Line’ was being shot there that summer,” she says. “I spent the next three weeks hustling to get on the movie as a production assistant, and eventually, I did! It was at that job where I met the supervisor who has hired me for many jobs, including ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘American Hustle.’”

Rector’s listing on IMDb, the internet movie database, includes those many jobs. Among her credits are “Green Lantern,” “J. Edgar,” “Django Unchained,” and “TRON: Legacy.”

“In film, I work both as a costume designer and a costumer,” she explains. “The difference is, as a designer, I work for a director. As a costumer, I work for another designer. In either position, the job is to tell the story the director wants to tell. The level of creativity and input depends on the director/producer or the designer. Some people are very open and receptive to new and different ideas, and other people are more focused and particular about how they want to tell the story.”

And hustling is, in fact, part of the game.

“My job is to sell a creative idea,” she says. “This is how I think the story should be told visually, and this is why. Sometimes you succeed in selling the idea, and sometimes you don’t.”

In “Catching Fire,” the costuming was elaborate and creative, and while Rector’s role was to help dress all the extras in the film, she also got a front row look at the masterpieces created by some of the world’s preeminent designers.

“Any scene with A LOT of people in it?” she says. “I helped dress all of them. Because of the success of the first film, we were able to borrow clothing from many different designers. My favorites were the Alexander McQueen pieces that Effie Trinket [Elizabeth Banks] wore. The level of craftsmanship that goes into making that type of dress is stunning and beautiful. One dress was made out of butterflies—as in butterflies-that-really-used-to-fly butterflies.”

Rector recognizes that Centre helped launch her career.

“My senior year, I went to Matthew Hallock [assistant professor of dramatic arts and chair of the dramatic arts program] and told him I wanted to design costumes for a play,” she says. “’OK,’ was his response. I had NO experience designing costumes! I feel like you can go to almost any professor at Centre and say, ‘Hey, I think I want to go jump off this cliff,’ and their response will be, ‘Sure, let’s see what happens!’ Whether personal or professional, ultimately, it is the place where you meet your lifelong partners in crime.”

More of Rector’s work will be featured in “American Hustle,” which opens in theaters on December 20.


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Guest Post: Gold Indeed

By Andrew Hornick ‘12

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.”

I remember being awed by those words delivered by Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport on the morning of my graduation, May 20, 2012. Perhaps awe was easy to draw forth at that huge moment in our lives—and at the end of a long senior week—but I have been struck then and since by how well that simple sentence relates to the experience many of my peers and I have with Centre; an experience I am thankful for every day.

Each of us has a story of our own journey to Centre, whether we “wandered” along the way or otherwise. I have had this conversation on several occasions:

“So you’re from where?”

“Iowa City, Iowa”

“And where did you go to school?”

“Centre College, in central Kentucky.”

Insert confused silence.

Andrew and Friends

Associates Dinner, January 2013: From left: Jordan Fitch ’12, Sarah Couch ’09, Jennifer Griffith ’12, Andrew Hornick ’12, Anne Evans ’12, Leah Hill ’12, Tony Distler ’12 and Danny Noll ’10

I can understand that to people unfamiliar with Centre, it probably makes little sense that someone would go somewhere far away from home to a school that doesn’t (yet) have the glittery name recognition that usually draws students out of their home states. I can understand that maybe it seems like we wander there on a whim.

Yet the reason Rabbi Rooks Rapport’s statement felt so true that day in May 2012 is because it finally put into words what I had felt since my first visit to Centre’s campus as a high school senior: not all who wander are lost. All that is gold doesn’t have to glitter. Our school is quietly, unquestionably, outstanding.

I can’t emphasize enough the gift that is Centre’s untiring dedication to providing a college experience that gives their students the tools for success. They send students abroad at incredible rates, allowing them to learn about and understand our world. They put us through academic rigors that, despite our occasional grumbling, prepare us well for our chosen career or graduate education.

Maybe most importantly, the Centre education focuses on producing not only strong academic minds, but also well-rounded human beings: graduates who are as comfortable at a roundtable discussion of world affairs as they are donning work gloves and rolling up their sleeves to help their community.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to take a long road trip to visit my college friends. It was an amazing and, dare I say it, heartwarming experience to see how well many were doing: finding their way in careers they were passionate about, giving back to their communities, building on a strong foundation to make lives of leadership and service.

So perhaps Centre doesn’t yet have that glittery name recognition of a big school in some big city. But it doesn’t have to have a glittery name to be outstanding. How many schools can boast an exceptional glassblowing program alongside world-class study abroad programs, or professors who welcome students into their offices alongside hosting Vice Presidential debates? The list of Centre’s merits goes on and on. I am so thankful that my path led me to Centre. You are gold indeed, Centre Dear.

Andrew Hornick ’12 is a first year medical student at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He graduated from Centre with a BA in Spanish. At Centre, he studied abroad twice—in Spain and Mexico—and was an RA and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Andrew lists his current hobbies as acquiring pickup basketball injuries, reading, and the cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes.


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Who’s Calling?: Bryce Miller ’14

The phone will ring. You’ll recognize the number, excitedly wondering who you’ll get to talk to during Centre’s Fall Phonathon. In this series, we will shed some light on that mystery, and offer you some background information on this Fall’s Phonathon callers, so you will know who’s calling when you pick up the phone. (Or, if Phonathon isn’t really your thing, you can make a gift online.)

Name and Class Year: Bryce Miller ’14


Bryce Miller ’14 is a Phonathon caller this fall.

Where are you from? What’s your major? I am from Louisville, not too far up the road, and am a Financial Economics major.

What are you involved in on campus? I am Vice-President of a fraternity, I formerly played a sport, and am President of the Centre Investment Society, in addition to the hours I put into Phonathon.

Why do you participate in Phonathon? I am really grateful for the financial aid grant I received to attend Centre.  I know that this was all made possible by the generous gifts from Centre alumni, and I feel a sense of duty to facilitate this process to ensure future generations can be as lucky as I have been.

What does the phrase “The Centre Experience” mean to you? The Centre Experience encapsulates a million things that cannot be put into words, but I’ll do my best.  At its heart, the Centre Experience is the close bonds I have been able to form with my peers, faculty, and staff—bonds that I believe can only be formed at the small, tight-knit campus culture found at Centre.

What is your most memorable Phonathon call so far? One time a talked to a Centre alumnus from ’48 about all aspects of life.  She even played for a clip of her granddaughter singing a solo song, which was truly beautiful.  We talked for 45 minutes, and it was amazing that I could connect in such a way with a person that I had never met before.

What do you plan on doing after Graduation? Hopefully making a gazillion dollar and giving half of it back to Centre, in addition to starting a family and keeping up with the close friends I have made in the past three and a half years.



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Who’s Calling?: Caroline Anderegg ’15

The phone will ring. You’ll recognize the number, excitedly wondering who you’ll get to talk to during Centre’s Fall Phonathon. In this series, we will shed some light on that mystery, and offer you some background information on this Fall’s Phonathon callers, so you will know who’s calling when you pick up the phone. (Or, if Phonathon isn’t really your thing, you can make a gift online.)

Name and Class Year: Caroline Anderegg ’15

Where are your from? What’s your major? I’m from Louisville, KY, and majoring in Politics with a minor in Art History.

caroline anderegg

Caroline Anderegg ’15 is a Phonathon caller this fall.

What are you involved in on campus? I am a member of Tri Delta and currently serve as the Vice President for Public Relations and Finance on the Panhellenic Council.  I also serve as the Second Vice Chair for the Centre College Republicans.  I am a member of Colonel Corps and have been involved on the Greek Week Steering Committee for the past two years. 

Why do you participate in Phonathon? I do it for the phone calls where I can’t get more than an introduction out before being interrupted with “I’ve been waiting for your call!” or ending a conversation by being thanked for what I’m doing.  Rarely do I leave work not in a better mood than when I got there.

What does the phrase “The Centre Experience” mean to you? To me, “The Centre Experience” is so much more than graduating in four years having studied abroad and done research or an internship.  Being at Centre is all about building relationships with professors, classmates, and friends that will encourage you to keep at it even when it’s 2 am and you just started your research paper due the next day.

What is your most memorable Phonathon call so far? I once talked to a woman had the same first name, major, study abroad location and campus organizations as me.  Needless to say it was a pretty great conversation.

 What is your favorite discussion topic when you make a call? It depends on the person.  If we were involved in similar things, I like talking about that.  However, my favorite part of a call is personally thanking whomever I’m calling for giving in the past as well as current giving.  I think it’s important to talk about the real, tangible difference their support makes to me—I wouldn’t be able to go to Centre if it weren’t for each of these calls.


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A Reunion Reflection

By Leslie Hast Hill ’08

The weekend ended like so many while we were students—with a good, long Cowan sit. For only $10, we commandeered a big round table, ate the exact same breakfast potatoes and relived the weekend.

I realized that none of the students I was eating with had ever experienced the previous Cowan—my Cowan—and that we had probably stolen someone’s table, with no knowledge of the new “seating chart.” We marveled at the waffles emblazoned with the college logo, but I missed those chairs that recline slightly and invite you to sit there forever. It was a perfect cap to our five-year reunion, to briefly feel like students again, even as all signs pointed to our age.

Jake and Leslie Hill

Jake and Leslie Hill, both members of the Class of 2008, celebrated their 5th reunion this year at Centre’s Homecoming Weekend.

Our reunion party was held in the Warehouse, where we used to meet at the Grille and hold Rocky Horror singalongs, but now mostly serves as office space. The party’s atmosphere was admittedly a little stiff until Roy Lee Wigginton ’08 broke out some speakers and we put on Brian and Taylor U’Sellis’ wedding reception dance mix. President and Mrs. Roush arrived just in time for a “Wagon Wheel” singalong, which I will always think of as our official class song.

I experienced a little reunion bonus when Roy Lee presented me with a letter I wrote myself at orientation in June 2004, just before starting at Centre. He found it while working in the Student Life Office and saved it from the trash. The letter perfectly captured my anxiety at starting a new chapter in life, wondering how everything would turn out.

Nine years later, I really couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling life, and I have Centre to thank for so much of it.

Even before being indoctrinated in Roush’s Rules, I wrote to myself: “I hope you have no regrets, because life gives you so many chances to just start again fresh.” In our five years post-Centre, there have been marriages and births, moves and new jobs and more degrees. But no matter what changes, Centre is always here to welcome us home. I can’t wait to be back in five years to see how we’ve all changed again. The only true constant is our loyalty to Centre Dear.

Leslie Hast Hill headshotLeslie Hast Hill is a writer and editor in the Office of News & Communications at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She lives in East Nashville with her husband Jake Hill ’08.

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